Initial release date: September 24, 2020
Genre: Shoot 'em up
Developers: Qute, M-KAI
Publishers: Qute, Rising Star Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
"Product Provided By Rising Star Games"
I have an on-off relationship when it comes to Bullet-Hells or better known as SHMUPS or Shoot Em Ups as my introduction to the genre with Gradius III on SNES and the ThunderForce games on Sega Genesis. Those were fun for me as a kid yet they were never my go to games over playing something like Streets of Rage 2 or Brawl Bros. I have always gone back and played a SHMUP here and there over the last 20+ years but for me a lot of the games in the genre shifted to 3D over 2D; I found it a lot harder to enjoy a lot of them because of how enemy bullets would blend in with 3D backgrounds and after a while and repeatedly dying, I would just give up and play something else. Here we have a new(ish) 3D SHMUP in the form of Ginga Force from Rising Star Games and the question I’m looking to answer with this review is if Ginga Force is the 3D SHMUP that I’ve been wanting since the ground breaking Ikaruga games or is this another one and done game? Let’s find out!
Like most SHMUPS, Ginga Force has you vertically scrolling upwards while you have enemies coming at you from all angles as the bullets from enemies coming at you relentlessly with you needing to avoid them to survive.
You have your stand vertical blaster that does decent damage and has a fairly fast fire rate and along side that you have a wide spread shot that has a slower start up but catches enemies at 90 degree angles as well as the ability to produce a shield to block incoming bullets. You are able to shift your speed from slow, normal, and fast at the click of a button. Firing your normal and secondary shots will drain your weapon energy meter of which will require you to continually kill minor enemies and gather the orb essence and if you play the game on easy when you wont have to worry about it draining.
You have the option of playing the game on Normal or Easy and have over 7 levels to go through. There’s an incredibly deep customization feature for your ship to be able to change the main weapon, secondary, shield, and more.
Graphically, this game isn’t doing anything standout as the backgrounds are fairly basic looking with low details in the enemies, your ship, and the environments. The character artwork is……basic at best and low effort at worst with incredibly generic shonen anime designs.
Really underwhelming here.
So it’s a SHMUP which means expect lots of gun fire and explosions. There is voice acting that occurs during the game to present the story, however, it is all in Japanese and with everything going on, it’s easily forgettable. There’s stage music but nothing is memorable.
So aside from the graphics the main thing here is the fact that levels are way too long and given that you only have 3 lives and with bullets that fly at you and blend in with the background and ultimately end up killing you since you die in one hit like any bullet hell shooter.
The other downside I would say is the fact that the game has a story mode that unless you’re able to understand Japanese or are able to read the dialogue quickly as it blends into the background of the explosions and the environments; then you will not be able to know what the plot is as honestly with as much time as I put into the game I still don’t know what the story is even till this day.
So should you buy Ginga Force? Well if you’re looking for a modern day SHMUP to pick up and play and aren’t to concerned with it living up to all time greats like Ikaruga and more and if you can look past the graphical issues then I think you’ll find something that’s fun to kill some time with and delivers with a very deep customization system; then Ginga Force is a solid title you should buy.